Home Disney World What will happen if the Disney World Skyliner Gondola requires evacuation?

What will happen if the Disney World Skyliner Gondola requires evacuation?

Walt Disney World Skyliner Gondola

The Walt Disney World Skyliner gondola transportation system is set to open at the end of September for the general public.  It’s currently under test and adjust.  But, what will happen if the Skyliner requires evacuation?

Disney has to think about all possibilities when adding an attraction or transportation system.  This particular system, the Disney Skyliner, not only travels over land, but over water as well.  That means there’s an extra challenge when evacuating the Skyliner in the event of a breakdown.

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So, Disney is going to use special Skyliner evacuation boats.  The boats are designed to allow the guests to be evacuated down to the boat and transported safely to a nearby dock.  I’m sure the evacuation won’t be too quick, but safety comes first.

My friend John from the “What’s that like? Podcast” recently captured a photo of the Skyliner gondola evacuation boat at the Art of Animation resort and is sharing here with all of us.

Walt Disney World Gondola Evacuation Boat

As you can see from the photo, the special boat is three decks high with stairs to assist in the need of a water evacuation.  A reminder that the Skyliners are NOT air conditioned.  They use passive airflow with tilt out windows to create a level of cooling.  I’m not sure I’d want to be stuck in one of them in the heat of our Orlando area Summer, but gondola systems are very reliable, so hopefully it won’t occur very often.

Disney's Skyliner Gondola map

Approximate travel times:

• Caribbean Beach Resort to Hollywood Studios: 5-6 minutes

• Caribbean Beach Resort to Pop Century Resort or Art of Animation Resort: about 6 minutes

• Caribbean Beach Resort to Riviera Resort: about 5 minutes

• Caribbean Beach Resort to International Gateway at Epcot: around 15 minutes

• Riviera Resort to International Gateway at Epcot: about 9 minutes

Are you looking forward to riding on the new Disney Skyliner?


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  1. I just noticed it out my AoA window, and took an inquisitive walk… glad I could help out your crew answer a potential questions… or as it seems… come up with many others. Thanks for sharing Kenny!

  2. How would they evac people on mobility scooters when over water I see they have boats for a led bodied people but what if there is scooters on board what if a evacuation happens with scooters, buggies etc how would myself be evacuated over water or land

    • They may have one boat that is handicap accessible, but they might just make people with scooters and buggies take the monorail or other types of transportation.

      • No there is gondolas for mobility scooters & wheelchairs etc, but they haven’t said what will happen if the gondolas break down as it did a few days ago, what happens to those in mobility scooters in gondolas, & how do they get those out when it’s broking down in mid air or above water, as alot of the scooters are hired, you can’t just leave them in gondolas

  3. Hate to add to the cacophony, but I, too, am concerned about people with ambulatory issues. Many rides in WDW and other parks (that shall not be named) are at times plagued with start/stop issues created by those who plug up the flow. Imagine being stopped in those suspended hot boxes every so often by scooters coming on and off gondolas. There goes every bit of airflow.

  4. I wonder if there will be some sort of communication system on the gondolas. If someone had a medical emergency or situation how would they get assistance?

  5. I am assuming that since these gondolas are primarilyserving the resorts, Disney expects to be able to screen, influence, riders by offering alternate options for those who might be compromised using the gondola. (This might include persons with ambulatory issues, small children, etc.) obviously, Disney isn’t making these rides open to general public since these issues, and resolving them, would be increased. For the resort guests, Disney is known to spread themselves a little more.

    • Since they connect between Epcot and Hollywood Studios it won’t just be resort guests but anyone wanting to park hop between the parks

    • It will be open to everyone, not just resort guests. It is transportation to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Park to park transportation in the same way the Disney Monorails are. You do not need to be an onsite guest to take advantage of The Skyliner.

  6. I think that this gondola system was the stupidest idea Disney has had! There were reasons that they did away them in the Magic Kingdom! My son worked for two years at a local ski area that had them. They have to be closed down during high winds or thunder storms! And while I’m not sure how high up this line is, evacuating one car in an emergency is difficult…several is horrific. At the ski area, most riders were teens or adults! They were evacuated by rope! Now imagine if you have very young children/babies or someone who is handicapped!! Imagine being on it in July or August during a thunderstorm with high winds and no AC! Even with this water rescue contraption, the gondolas still have to be evacuated one at a time! Seems to me, Disney would have been better to spend a little more money and extend the Monorail at least to the other two parks! It is almost a straight line between Epcot and Hollywood! Or perhaps they could have built a “people mover” with larger inclosed cars! Seems it would have been easier to build a “rail bed” system for one. Sure it would be less expensive than a Monorail since it would not need to be elevated.

    I just know, from my son’s experiences, that the Gondolas will not be an efficient way of moving masses of people from one place to another!

    PS. Also, are these “cars” going to be able to accommodate people in electric wheelchairs or severely handicapped guests?

    • Yes so long as the ECV fits within the Disney 31×51 inch box, there is a back loading area that you can go to and once your on you are passed up to the front loading area yes you can’t carry normal load of people, but can hold a few people to assist the person in the ECV.

    • I agree with everything you say. In addition, I think they’re an eyesore and ruin some sight lines. Not to mention the location downgrade for those who stay and own in the Boardwalk area. One reason it’s so desirable is the gateway into Epcot. Now, not so much.

    • My thoughts exactly! How many times have you been stuck in the haunted house because of someone having a problem getting on and off the ride. At least there is air conditioning in there. The gondolas are going to be a nightmare in the heat!

    • The Skyliner is the best transportation method that Disney has ever come up. No pollution and takes a bunch of extra busses of the roads. Do you really think Disney hasn’t thought these things out. Plus, they can see a storm coming from miles away and with plenty of time to get everyone off and out of each gondola. Gondola systems have worked for years around the world. Lol. Now, extending the monorail? THAT is literally the worst idea ever.

    • The answer is simple… Buses. Disney didn’t plan these systems to be “mass transportation” methods. Buses are the mass transit method and these are an alternative. Buses cost marginally less than anything named (especially monorails or people movers) and don’t need the time to be installed or worried about in most weather conditions.

    • I could be wrong but I doubt it. Scooters are heavy and then you have the rider and at least one other person (typically). Seems like a lot of weight. Without a scooter, the handicapped rider would be forced to just ride back – treat it like a ride instead of a way to get from one side to the other because their vehicle won’t be waiting for them. I use a scooter and regardless, I won’t get off this thing because they kind of freak me out. I had a panic attack on the one at the San Diego Zoo and I refuse to get on another one!

What do you think?

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